tv C-SPAN2 Weekend CSPAN April 7, 2012 7:00am-8:00am EDT
they were very good friends with a son from a washington post. and washington post correspondent son, the use of play in a garden near our house and our babysitters told us at one point that they came home laughing and said aneleise and benny to the mobile phones and were role-playing and said there has been an explosion in tel aviv and benny without missing a beat said have you sent the photographer? we realize it might be time to get back to america. i think with that -- >> we will leave it at that but we will be happy to answer your questions. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. [applause] >> we have a microphone. >> i just wanted to ask did you
know you were going to write this book when you first lived there? did you keep a note? did you keep a journal? are you just relying on what you remember? >> it is a good question. we did not know we were going to write this book and we didn't keep any notes. the only notes we had were the stories we had written and we had a good archive of at because of pieces i had done for fox and that greg had written but it is amazing how memories work. really strong memories don't fade. the good stories and poignant stories stay with you. interestingly enough we wrote this book, we started writing it when we moved back to the state. greg started working on it in particular. i was diagnosed with breast cancer as some of you know. two years ago now. we were finishing up the book and we were finishing writing the book while i got chemotherapy. greg would come with the laptop
to the keynote work and i would want to strangle him and say i don't want to talk about this. he used it as a way to get my mind off of cancer. he would say tell me about the time you were in gaza with steve and olaf and he would type the notes and that is how we got through keynote --chemo. that is how we got through that year dealing with cancer. [inaudible] >> writing a book with your spouse. >> you may notice some italics in the book. that was our compromise because it was my voice and he kept trying to edit my voice. >> the fact that she worked for fox and i work for the new york times which is npr now was never a problem. it was stylistic issues like how do we want to present this story
or is this story more important or that one? just trying to match your two personalities into one narrative and it took awhile to figure out how to do that. >> it was a strange process but this is like marriage counseling for us. we are doing this tour and it is hard to write a book with your spouse and it is hard for two people to write a book because you have different ways of telling stories. was in the detail the facts so much as the voice. >> obviously you might -- you have a wonderful duet. there is an image of war correspondents that is different from the do you with your children. many things have been written about hard drinking, chain-smoking, people sitting around the bar of the hotel. i could ask you a million serious questions about your subject matter but it is curious
to me. what did grandmas say? what did grandparents have to say about your decision to live with the kids in a war zone. >> our parents were hugely supportive. they came and visited us. and they got caught up in the fear of it and never gave us a hard time. even when we had kids there. i have to grant delayed -- congratulate them for being so supportive. >> one image on will never forget. my sister came to the sitting in the tenth row right there. when she was 6 years old and my sister kathy illegal they were young and came to visit us in pakistan. it was real for my parents. they didn't think about what we were doing or the danger we were in. we took them up to the pass and i have a picture of caitlin and
kathy on a camel at age 6 and they were being guarded by pakistani paxton --pshtun with an ak-47 and this was in what is now known as the tribal area of pakistan. we took them up there and said isn't this great? it was exotic and wonderful. one of the wonderful things about the period in which we covered wars is it was pre daniel pearl. i say that because the iraq war and daniel pearl's debt was a watershed moment for journalists. it has always been dangerous to be a war correspondent going back to world war ii, vietnam, you name it. many of them lost their lives
following wars. we feel so lucky that there was a period in the 90s that we were able to traipse around in conflict and somehow we felt we were immune or bulletproof or just young and i leave. we got to see things up close and personal that i am not sure, i wouldn't want my children doing that today. >> that i ask you to please stand if you have a question? >> i realize you haven't been back in afghanistan for a while but i would like your opinion on this. based on your knowledge of the way people live and the way society is, the united states military leave tomorrow for a year from now or 50 years from now will things be any different? >> i was in afghanistan in december because i go back and forth with my job at the pentagon and troubling with secretary panetta when he was there and what was quite
humbling and distressing for those who watch the afghan conflict whether it was a war between the mujahedin after the soviets pull out or the rise of the taliban or the end of the taliban and the last week in years of war, very little has changed in afghanistan in terms of that the tribal level in to in terms of building a government or dealing with the corruption that is endemic there. a lot has been done in that i cover the military and icy the extraordinary feats in what they achieved in various provincess the doris lessing wrote a book that sticks with me. it is about afghanistan. the wind blows away their wards. whether it is this great military or previous military, as soon as they are gone the afghans have a way and they will go back to their own ways and i
don't think it will have changed based on my experience. >> one quick note. girls going to school in afghanistan today. they weren't in the late 90s. will they keep going to school? is a possibility there could be fighting. how much is it worth? what price should the u.s. pay southern afghan girls could go to school? tough question. one quick example of the kinds of questions you are looking at. >> besides the politics, we would like the americans and israelis -- what do you personally feel will be equitable for the israeli/arab country? >> we don't have the solution. we are journalists, not policymakers but an equitable solution is one the israelis and palestinians can live with. it will never be a perfect
solution. the the two people who have been there for centuries. they both have legitimate claims to the land and they will have to find ways to share it. it is not incompatible. israel -- the one thing is real really needs is security and they deserve it. one thing the palestinians need and deserve it a viable state. you can have both of those things but it will have to be worked out between them. the united states can play a valuable role as a mediator but the u.s. can't force it. sort of famous quote by james baker when he was secretary of state two decades ago. the u.s. can't want peace more than the israelis and palestinians. we can say here the plan, implement it. when you get strong enough majorities on both sides and they agree to some sort of compromise, that is the solution. [inaudible] >> of question. our daughter's birth certificate -- the question was what do our daughter's birth certificates
say in terms of where they were born? they say jerusalem/, they don't say a state because jerusalem is to be negotiated according to u.s. policy. but you remember there is a supreme court case this year. this became very relevant because there is a case before the justices. >> the child was born in jerusalem to jewish parents who live in the u.s. and they want the birth certificate, the passport to say jerusalem/israel and the u.s. state department since the date of jerusalem has not been resolved, just says jerusalem. that is exactly what our girls -- it was literally an issue for us because we thought this may make it difficult if they want to travel in certain countries in the middle east, might make
it difficult. there will be 20 years to sort that out. six months after an elise --a l --analise was born 9/11 happened. we were asked to go to pakistan. there was no way pakistan was going to allow somebody in who had a jerusalem birth stamp in their passports and six months it became an issue. i went and jennifer state in jerusalem said. there you are. >> as far as hamas who is best to lead palestinians toward peace? we are aware of leaders in israel who were quite able to do that. what leadership among palestinian people will move towards peace? >> the problem with thought, and
hamas, abbas is the president and a former world bank, in the west, then you have the gaza strip, the leader of hamas. and in recent weeks, the gap between what they believe is enormous. there's an open question about who is the leader. certainly hamas has shown no sign of wanting to negotiate with israel and benjamin netanyahu said recently, if you do a deal with hamas there is no more talking. these are the issues they're grappling with now. >> time for one more question.
[inaudible] >> i had the most extraordinary room with a view looking over the old city for both our daughters. thank you very much. [applause] >> today at noon eastern on booktv, joy in our live call-in program with distinguished former navy seal and dr. chris kyle as he talks about his wife from professional rodeo riders to becoming the most lethal sled during u.s. military history. at 10:00 p.m. on after words. >> if you think of yourself as a family and as a team and she said when i get a raise at work he is so proud of me. it is like we got a raise. redefined providing to include
what the husband does. >> the richer sex author on the role of women as the breadwinners of the family and how that impacts their lives. also this weekend america the beautiful. director of pediatric neurosurgery at johns hopkins ben carson compares the decline of the empire's past with america and shares his thoughts on what should be done to avoid a similar fate sunday at 3:30 p.m.. booktv every weekend on c-span2. s.c. gwynne's book "empire of the summer moon" tells the story of the 40 year battle between comanches warriors and the u.s. army and white settlers. the author spoke at the book festival. this is 45 minutes. [applause] hello. thank you for coming >> hi, everybody. thank you for coming. i want to talk this afternoon
and about how i came to this book or how the book came to me. with a simultaneous event. a connecticut yankee with a 25 year career in journalism and several events at fiction. suddenly decides you wants to be a historian. not only that but he wants to write about comanches and the great plains which are as far from connecticut as the frozen moons of jupiter. i won't bore you with all the details of my literary task, but i want to put it as briefly as possible. i had my bottle eat tiffany in the spring of 1970. i had just been admitted to princeton university. i was traveling there for a weekend, to see if they want to go there. it was a glorious day. this morning spring was in full bloom. the last leg of this train trip was on a smaller train.
was reading f. scott fitzgerald's this side of paradise. of all about life at princeton and was a magical book to me. i can't read two paragraph of that book is so adolescent. at the time it was absolutely magical. just as the train was pulling into the station. it is cute as the button. i was finishing it just as the train pulled in. i walked onto the campus and walked by 12 university place where fitzgerald had lived and what i just read about and on to the campus and i remember thinking at that moment there is absolutely nothing in the world that i would rather do than to be able to write like scott
fitzgerald, period. it was all downhill from there. for the next 15 years i wrote a bunch of fiction, published some of it and got a fellowship at johns hopkins but nothing that it was much good. it wasn't great stuff. i worked. i had jobs. i was a french teacher and a banker. all the while i persist in seeing myself as a writer. i would go home at night and read gertrude stein and whatever riders are supposed to do a did that or henry james or whatever i was doing. and i was aware on some level as time went by that i wasn't exactly like scott and zelda sipping champagne from lady's slippers in leading oysters. i was aware of that but that wasn't happening for me. at some point it occurred to me i could make a living by writing
so i became a reporter. in my early 30s i started to do that and as i got better and better at nonfiction, the fiction dream kind of slowly went away. for me at my age everything is black-and-white, this or that. it is hard for me to understand myself better younger age where things are so absolute. where you could be an international banker or a writer or think you're going to be that the same time but at the same time as i got -- the fiction dream went away and went away in one giant glorious spectacular cataclysms which was the 700 word novel called morning's bark by s.c. gwynne whose main effect was to cause my agent not to return my phone calls. then it was gone. it was a cathartic experience. this didn't happen that long ago. it had to be done. we have to realize what we can't
do and that is something i can't do. i don't look back and don't -- i don't think of myself as a failed novelist. i don't care. i don't read fiction that much anymore. the difference for me is comes to the legendary blank page that the writer sees. the blank page for a fiction writer, absolutely astonishing thing. on that blank page there are no rules at all. it could be about iran or marks or new jersey or an old man or daughter or bumble bee or martian aboard anything. that for marriage or life or birth. there are no rules. for me looking at the blank page i don't know what i'm supposed to do. i don't know. the difference is with nonfiction, this applies to my journalism and history. something palpable and real. something very real that you
hang on to and you start with the premise of the real. at the ended up in austin, texas as executive editor of texas monthly and essentially learning what i know how to do between the years 2000 onward, it was in texas where this comanche nonsense started. when i called my journalist friend of your years ago that i was worth writing a history of the comanches i mainly got a lot of blank stares. you could see the wheels turning in their tiny little news driven brains trying to figure out what the angle was. is there some kind of indian nation health-care obama angle? no, this is just just the old history of something that happened 300 years ago and they look at me and go for that is great. we can't wait to read it.
meaning good luck. as one of the waiters said, anyone -- frankly i didn't care. i wanted to do it and we should all do things we want to do. it is nice that they sell. the fact is a lot of us in this profession write books with very few of us interested in jumping a long way back into history. that is partly because -- reporters -- don't want to run down but they have an intention span of a map for one thing. part because the lack of qualifications. if my qualifications were writing a c plus pieces in the history department on the paris commune of 1871 in case you are interested. is there at the library. this is great. you can check your thesis out of the firestone library which is great. my plan which i haven't executed yet is to check out a library, take it somewhere and burn it.
but i haven't done that yet. anyway, i am not this guy. i am not a historian. i wasn't sitting at oklahoma university or university of georgia for 30 years of mulling over native american history. what does the reporter of the present become interested in something that happened in a faraway past? what got me interested was something i will call generational memory. i will explain that in a minute. i grew up in connecticut, massachusetts, parts of the country where native american tribes have been subdued a long time ago. if we're talking about the 1600s. i was aware of indians on cape cod and played summer baseball with a few of them. they ceased to exist as a free fraud 100 years before my ancestors got off the boat in boston. if nobody knew anything about the algonquin or mohegan or narraganset it is because too much time had intervened.
for anyone to have any conceivable generational memory. this was not part of my upbringing. in texas where i moved, time magazine's bureau chief in 1994, this sense of the frontier was different. i never in a million years would have written this book oregon near this book if i had not moved to texas. one of those strange and fortuitous circumstances that simply move around. and to write stories for time magazine and texas monthly. all sorts of people told me about comanches. the woman who sat next to me at texas monthly, both of her great grandparents had been killed in a comanche raid. i knew my great grandparents. i met someone whose grandfather had done business -- there was a
sense of the immediacy of the frontier. often in my travels, there was this weird mixing of legend in history. this was a classic way i got interested in comanches. i was in wichita falls in north texas. a comanche word. i'm doing a story -- softball gloves, the factory burned down. i had gone up to do this story and was sitting in a bar, this battle took place. i always talked about this. no idea. the end of spanish power.
and the spanish fort where they waved back at the end of spanish power in the new world. the aztecs might be able to tell you. stories and things like that and here i am travelling around gambling. i don't know from anything. one of the reasons is the immediacy of the frontier. the comanche is the last of the indians. there was a good deal of jostling that went on. really into the 20th centuries of frontier was an immediate thing. the tribe that was featured in most of these stories -- there were lots of indians in texas, wichita's -- i could keep going with the apaches and everything else. the tribunal always heard about were comanches.
in my upbringing comanches were something -- a word that occurred in a john wayne movie and it was always a code word for danger. sergeant, we are in trouble now. it was always like that. you did know why we -- why the comanches were bad that they were bad. didn't know anything else about them. there was the remembering of the past that got me interested in the story. what got me interested paradoxically enough was not just this remembering of the past, it was also forgetting. it was a simultaneous and contradictory revelation. although the old folks often remembered almost everyone else had forgotten. the average texan talking about the fastest-growing state in the
union, 500,000 new people coming from texas, mexico and california and illinois and i don't know where. they don't know these things. my daughter didn't know these things. she grew up in texas and she is 19 years old now. so you had -- is interesting because in 1940 every single school child in texas knew the story of cynthia parker. knew the whole deal. the kidnapping, the rescue, fact that her son quanah parker became the last of the comanche's. talk to a texas above a certain age and they can tell you those things. if any of you have read my book one of my great discoveries with a guy named jack hayes. john coffee hayes. he was the original and greatest ranger. he was the man. he was one of the greatest indian fighters on the plains
and one of the greatest military commanders america ever produced. the adopted comanche war techniques to a guerrilla counterinsurgency warfare that never existed before in america that was used with berlin effectiveness in the war in mexico. eventually became the sixth shooter that came to define the west. it was a more or less correctly that before jack hayes came into the american west, everybody came on foot and asked for jack hayes who came on horseback carrying 6 gloves. i am leading up to something here. to describe to you this process of remembering and forgetting. jack hayes seemed to be completely forgotten. just south of austin there is a county named hays county named
after john and inside hays county there is a high school, hays high school in a state that absolutely treasures rangers. when you suppose in this state the mascot of the haze high school team would be the rangers. they are the rebels. and as i said, i have no problem with rebels because jack hayes left texas in 1849 to become the first sheriff of san francisco and never went south against anybody. he is not a rebel. he is a ranger. no one in hays county knows what this is. people in san antonio where he invented the six shooter know
who the guy is. this was going on. here was the great opportunity i saw as a writer with this book because i am a relatively smart guy. i was even living in texas and that didn't know who these guys were. you ever heard of a geronimo? everyone has heard of geronimo? ever heard of custer? mackenzie, the greatest indian fighter of the frontier? ever heard of john coffee haze? should be a household word like davy crockett but he isn't? what about rep ford? keep going here. the fact is for me as a writer i could go sell a book in new york to now but -- not only to an editor who gives me money which they did thankfully but i could then sell it to a country that had never heard of these guys.
the answer to y, there were books about these things that were bottled up and tended to be prisoners of the region. texas a&m, 1200 copies. there is no distribution. i saw my opportunity and took it. if it turns out the comanche story is one of those great stories, what i love about it as much as anything else is it is the best lesson you could get from your most beloved history professor. it uses a vehicle, in this case the comanche tribe to teach you how the west was won. it was not won until lost. they constituted this physical barrier to everything that happened in the west. mexicans and texans and americans and spanish and
everybody else and determine what happens around them. occupied the southern plains, 250,000 square miles. basically in a sense they helped themselves the progress of the american empire. before that they block the northward expansion of the spanish empire in north america. the reason was the spanish provided them with an astonishing piece of technology known as the horse. comanche's stopped the french in their attempts to move west. the french made the mistake of arming comanche enemies. in a funny way texas itself exists because of comanche's. why did texas exist? here's what happened. the mexicans needed to stabilize their northern borders. they owned texas. one way to stabilize the northern border is you settle it. you put people there.
the more you settle with the more you stabilize it and if your purpose is to control but that is what you do. there were comanches their buddies not ball redneck from alabama and tennessee, these scotch irish people, guys like davy crockett and those guys had no problem coming in and settling in this land. the grand plan of mexico which backfired on them they wanted independence and after a bump at the alamo they got it. in effect it isn't the only reason texas happened but at least in part a misguided schemes to stop the comanches. pretty good way to tell history to somebody who doesn't know the history of texas. so many other things. the rangers are a product of the
comanche. finally the comanches who in the 40 year work in a single line of the frontier just draw a line from san antonio for dallas-fort worth. not a very precise one brett pretty close. that is where the frontiers at for 40 years. nothing even remotely similar happened with any other native american war or tribe. i call them in my book the most powerful tribe in american history and people have asked me comanches met the western suit in a pitched battle who would win? if a comanche -- there is a show on tv where a computer pits a mongolian against the comanches historical warriors. even though they were fabulous warriors, what i mean is the power to influence the course of history. note tribe, no tribe has such a determinative in effect on what
happened in north america. no tribe in the east were mounted. they were agrarian. you could find them easily. nomadic were sound comanches or cheyenne or su or anybody else were harder to eradicate. that is the big military -- the way the book works is on the one hand you have the big picture of the rise and fall of the comanches which is interesting because of their great power. the other side of it is the more intimate and small story of the parker family. the 9-year-old girl gets taken in this raid in 1836. that is the way my book is organized. alternating chapters. big picture you get comanches and the horse and the spanish and the parker family and quanah parker and the trains all run together. the organizing event of this book is this raid in 1836.
one of those most small moments in history. the raid where little quanah parker was taken and apparently small moments in history that in retrospect have astonishingly large historical significance. that was the same year texas won independence. that was the year the parker family built a stockade south of dallas. not that they necessarily knew this but they were so far out into the comanche frontier it was almost ridiculous. you wonder how you could bring children out there. they were beyond almost anybody else for on the frontier. one thing you have to keep in mind if you are thinking of the way the american west was settled is people sometimes think there was the sweep across -- this week that when north and south along the sir parallel and it was. it was all south.
the human frontier was in texas. nothing going on up north at all. the great clashes were in the south. in this raid five people were killed and other people were wounded and five captives were taken. one of whom was cynthia parker. this was a defining moment and one of the most famous events on the frontier. >> along the stand most brutal war between americans and a single native tribe. the second, no word the because it involved a woman destined to be the most famous captive of her era in an era with many captives. what happened was more than that. it took precisely at the point when the westward building the american empire and this is the other thing the parkers didn't
realize. you had this enormous american empire moving west meeting 250,000 square mile planes comanches empire right at the point when you could only -- this is in retrospect. no one could see it at the time. it really was right there. that is where the parkers build that house. had they had any idea that is what they were doing i am sure they never would have done it. i will say a word about what those -- why was that empire there? the reason that empire was there was a result of 150 years of sustained combat with one goal. the goal was the south plains. why was that the gold? the most militarily dominant tribe in america. masters of the worse. people who mastered the worse like no other tribe. that was where all the buffalo were. over a period of 150 years the comanches used their mastery of
the horse to challenge as they went south and nearly exterminated the apache, eventually gaining what they wanted which was the south plains where the buffalo were. that is where the parkers put that little house on the edge of that. pretty good idea. this is where they built their frontier paradise and the chain of events -- there is one more thing that is really interesting about precisely where they put that house. if you look at america way back when, before columbus basically the entire east coast was one dance grim brother's forest. was a dense forest. that dense forests swept from the east coast clear to the 98th meridian in that area. right through the middle of texas. guess where?
from san antonio south. this bizarre thing happened that you have a culture in the east was the culture of the woods. based on timber, land and water. when you got past the tree line this was a terrifying moment. there were no trees to build houses from. there was no water. all those things happened right there. that house was at the edge of that moment. that physical geographic moment when the land change. that was there too. an amazing little place they picked to build their house. at the end -- narrated in my book the captivity of cynthia parker and recapture and she bore three children. refused to come back. she was famous as the white squad would not return. and that story played out.
her older son was quanah parker, the greatest comanche warrior of his age. i won't going to great detail but one great story about quanah which you know from the book but i will tell again anyway. i consider quanah one of the more extraordinary people of the nineteenth century. he was the most formidable comanche warrior of his era which was saying something. he was a brilliant field general never defeated by whites in battle. he led the last of the comanches in the terrible dying days of 1874-75 when the buffalo have all been killed and after all the other southern tribes had surrendered. after his surrender he moved to the comanche reservation in oklahoma and transformed himself the way his mother had. his mother adapted brilliantly to comanche culture and quanah adapted brilliantly to white culture. he went from the fiercest plains warrior to the most successful and influential indian of the
reservation period. decontrolled a small cattle empire and outfox the white man at the leasing game that was a friend of teddy roosevelt and was leader of his tribe for 30 years. the accumulated a large portion almost all of which he gave way to his fellow comanche's. i will tell the story and wind up. the year is 1871. keep in mind this is 35 years after the first battle around thirty-five years after the first battle with the comanches. the frontier was shockingly where it had been. wasn't moving. keep in mind this is after the civil war. the men running america are these grim warriors who had destroyed the south. the president is a guy named ulysses s. grant. the chief of the army is william tecumseh sherman and the chief of the armies in the west is phil sheridan. all these names will be familiar to you. this is who was running thing.
the years 1871. these guys who had unleashed the greatest war machine in american history, world history. nothing close to it. were looking at this tribe that was sitting there holding up everything. in 1871 these guys -- one of the reasons the comanches were still there is the civil war took the attention away from the plane's. in 1871 that attention was no longer focused by the war reconstruction. now we could look and see what we were going to do about the comanche problem. quanah was 20 years old at the time and the leader of the most remote and hostile and aloof of all the comanche banneds in the panhandle where amarillo is.
they ran amazing bunch. they were in power because they kept away from the white man. they have attracted very few diseases. they had 15,000 horses. they traded -- one way they kept away from the white man is they traded with these guys who actually operate out of new mexico and they were -- you see that in movies. kind of a rough bunch. grant and sherman decided they had enough so they sent colonel randal slidell mackenzie who was grant's favorite officer in the civil war. he parallels custer closely. they sent mackenzie 600 -- they ride out and they are going to get those comanches and their target is a village. quanah is 20 years old and has this village. we don't know exactly how big
the village was but it is 200 lodges. it was a village with women and children and dogs and probably cattle and horses. what happened was rather astonishing. quanah gave mackenzie the most extraordinary lesson in planes warfare. the indians were outnumbered. mackenzie had spencer carbenes. breechloading. this is breechloading repeating rifles. if they had anything at all the comanches had food borne musket's but mostly bose and arrows. let me see if i can briefly describe to you what this battle was. it is wonderful. the blue coats, pretty tough people, they were not complete
idiots. actor played a cat and mouse game where quanah stampede their horses and everything else the bluecoats, union cavalry move forward and located a village and they were going to move on the village. they go up and march to where they think the village is and it is gone. so they sent scouts to figure out where the village was. what happened is they get to the point where they realized -- see if i can describe it. if you use a horse -- the way indians carry things. two long poles on the back of a horse. they didn't have wheels. has a large group of -- parallel lines in the sand. they get to the point that the parallel lines go across and the village disappears and the
village has doubled back on the soldiers. the village is now behind them. remember 200 lodges. we don't know how many people were in them. they are furious. they get up the next day and they're going to get the village and now they are mad. by the time they get their the village disappears again and now they realize it has gone if you know west texas, the cap rock is a steep cliff that rises between 201,000 feet from one level to another. they disappeared up the cap rock. so the soldiers go with great difficulty to the top and follow the village for a while. is not going down. they track it again and the crisscrossing lines and they lose it. eventually -- sounds like i am making this a. this is an account by on medal
of honor winner who won by fighting quanah parker and hated quanah parker butted buyers what he did. i won't go into all the details. the village disappears again. now they got him. they have him so the soldiers back to the top of the cap rock at the top of the cliff. this is where the planes go dead flat. oceanic. they can see those indians getting away. on q from god or whoever it is, suddenly howling a northern win that can blow in texas where the temperature dropped 60 degrees in an hour. this adds ice and snow. the cowboys feared it. howling. no. comes in. mackenzie's troops forgot to put on their winter clothes because of beautiful west texas weather that day. into this howling gale quanah leads his men and women and
warriors off and away and gets away and mackenzie it is men hunkered down and lucky they didn't freeze to death. i didn't go into all the details of the deficit -- quanah got away. he schools mackenzie in planes for fair. one of the key things about planes warfare was the day. there are very instances in history where a commander takes a village in to the field against his adversary and in effect wins. that was the kind of commander quanah was. he was quite brilliant and obviously escape to fight another day. he would not surrender until he led the last of the starving comanches into the reservation in 1875 after almost every single one of their food sources, all the buffalo had been killed. that is all wanted to say tonight. i would be happy -- do we have time for questions? sorry? this mike.
i would be happy to answer questions. of any kind. [inaudible] >> that was her cousin rachel parker plummer. >> you have access? >> rachel -- this is one of the great things you have at your disposal as the historian is rachel plummer's diary. an unbelievable account. very few captives. she was taken for many months on to the plain s. it is rather extraordinary. i also held the original one. i don't know how many libraries are around here but in texas the rare book collections will have it. i am just saying i don't know if i can get it in most libraries
but the rare book collections. >> your descriptions of the comanches's ability to fight on their horses with absolutely fascinating. there are a few statistics on how fast they could fire an arrow compared to a rifle. >> pretty astonishing. >> who would be interested in that. >> talking about the comanches's amazing abilities with a horse. the first time americans saw that was an expedition in 1834 that ran into them. they simply couldn't believe what they were looking at. there are people today who do what they did which was basically they had a leather thong and they would dip down
the side which is one thing they could do, to the side of the worse so you couldn't see them. they were behind the worse but they could fire under the neck of the horse with extreme speed and trek writers have duplicated it. they could hit things with it at full gallop. for never seen anything like it before. no one had seen their ability to break horses. they did this thing nobody had seen before where they often would do things like -- these were wild horses that had gone out from the spanish heard and they chased them over a large piece of ground and they would let those courses come up to the water and before they got to drink, moves do this to caribou too. horses were constantly on the
road and not allowed to drink so eventually they stopped. one of the things you see these comanche's do is get a rope on the horse and somehow get up to the horse and finally this thing is in a complete ladder and they would take its nostrils and blow into the nostrils of the worse and this would gentle the horse. they understood about breathing and all that stuff. the worry small tribe that lived in the wind with the mountains of wyoming. of a particularly significant tribe. something happened in the seventeenth century that nobody saw and they emerge as a
terrifically powerful force by virtue of the horse. >> the comanche's -- [inaudible] >> there are 1400 of the registered in the nation right now. 14,000. of those, about 9,000 live close to the old homeland where their reservation was in oklahoma southwestern oklahoma. there are a few comanche's that are more widely dispersed. they have a couple casinos. i think they do ok with their casinos but they're wrestling with the same things most other native american tribes are wrestling with. they still exist. you can go on to the internet and see their nation web site and it is interesting stuff. i had the opportunity or the honor and some of my book talks on the plains. i had not -- i had comanche's come to it.
some lady stands up and goes what do the comanches' think of your book? to answer that question a lot of them like it. some of them don't. there are some things when i tell about quanah's father's death that goes against comanche history. i know does and i say that in the book and i believe this and they believe that and we won't come together but on the whole the reception was good. [inaudible] >> very good question. the question is how many people did i interview for the book and the answer is none. the reason is they were beyond -- no living people could inform on back then. in the 1930s very thankfully there were two or three different project where people
recorded comanches from the old days. from the free reservation period. they did ethnographic studies and there was a lot of that. that is what i relied on. those guys did my interviewing for me. there wasn't much point in interviewing -- would be like interviewing me about my grandfather's experiences in world war i. i have some stories but one of these days i wrote a big story of egypt as ofs last year where i interviewed them and one of my goals was to do current day comanches which i intended to do a lot of interviews. yes? [inaudible] >> and acting retribution --
[inaudible] -- could you elaborate on how much is organized and retribution and how much was strictly on the goal -- [inaudible] >> the question is to what extent where the raids comanche's perform revenge raids and to what extent or retribution or revenge as part of plains worker? all but tribe for warlike and they fought and that is what they did. if someone conducted -- the arapahos conducted a successful raid against comanches the comanches would plot a counterraid and it went both ways. this is the way it went. there were some times -- there were raid that were meant to get horses and some were real blood. if someone killed your two suns that would call for a revenge raid but it is the way it all worked. it was part of the deal.
the same revenge was exact on whites later. the whole of adobe -- the last great spasm of comanches power that quanah parker lead with an affected giant revenge rate against the whites for what they had done. from quanah's point of view was the death of his father. a lot of what -- the comanches were very brutal. so were all plains indians and native americans in terms of treatment of captives and torture and revenge raids. those were common to native americans. could you are a historian on the field you have to come to terms with that. it happened. perhaps i was a little naive when i started writing this book but i remember someone was interviewing me on the radio year ago and said perhaps my book first came out, did you have to stop and take a cheap
breath before you wrote a complete revision history of native americans? i sat there going -- sinking fast, complete revisionist history, what he meant was, i got a question hundred of times since then, there was a notion that was popular in the 60s and perhaps the best example was a book called bury my heart at wounded knee and others eager to build the impression created was indians were these kind of gentle spiritual people, not necessarily gentle but fundamentally decent people who were steamrolled by this culture that broke its treaties and destroyed them in massacres. was a kind of 1-sided deal. and if you look at the comanches that simply isn't true. they were enormously powerful. they were victimized and eventually steamrolled and